Blind footballer Dave Clarke appointed British Paralympic Association CEO

Paralympic blind footballer Dave Clarke has been appointed as chief executive of the British Paralympic Association.

Clarke, who competed at Atlanta 1996 in goalball, scored a record 128 goals in 144 appearances for England in blind football and will succeed Mike Sharrock when he assumes the role in mid-March.

The 52-year-old, currently vice-chair of the BPA board, was a torchbearer for the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony and also represented ParalympicsGB at Beijing 2008.

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He said in a statement: “I am thrilled to be appointed as chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, an organisation that is close to my heart. It is an honour to join at such an exciting time, as we build momentum towards Paris 2024 and strive to deliver greater social impact to challenge perceptions and break down barriers for all disabled people in the UK.

“My experience as a Paralympian has shown me the unique power sport can have to change attitudes and to boost physical and mental wellbeing for everybody.”

Clarke’s background includes a 24-year career in banking and extensive work in the charitable sector, most recently as chief operating officer for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Dave Clarke
Dave Clarke represented Britain at the Paralympics (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

He has also served two terms as chair of the BPA’s athlete’s commission and six years on the organisation’s board where he was, according to a BPA statement, “integral to developing the BPA’s ambitious 10-year strategic plan”.

Nick Webborn, chair of the BPA, said: “Dave brings a superb range of experience in sport, business and the charitable sector to the British Paralympic Association as we aspire to have even greater impact not only in continued excellence during summer and winter Paralympics Games but also on wider society.

“He knows the organisation so well and will hit the ground running. It is also a clear statement of intent from the BPA to lead from the front in inclusion and diversity, with disabled people appointed to leadership positions on merit.”